This site is intended for healthcare professionals only

Postnatal care is the neglected 'Cinderella' of midwifery

Written by: | Published:

The survey spoke to 1,200 new mothers 14% of mothers thought twice about having a second child due to the quality of postnatal care

Postnatal care is lagging behind other areas of midwifery, according to a survey from Mumsnet.

More than 1,200 mothers who have just had babies were surveyed by the maternity website. Results showed that, among those who stayed in hospital after giving birth, many reported it was sometimes difficult to access food, pain relief, drinking water and washing facilities.

Read more: New rules for supervisors could bring 'flexibility' to midwifery support

Results showed 19% of women who had a hospital stay say it affected their mental health for the worse; 5% say they developed postnatal depression and the environment in hospital was a factor; 20% were frightened for their own or their baby's wellbeing, and 15% did not always feel safe during their stay on the ward.

Among those who were considering or would have been likely to have more children, 14% said their experience on the postnatal ward had ‘made them think twice’ about having more children, 5% said it had ‘contributed to a decision not to have any more children’, 1% said it had ‘made them decide not to have any more children’, and 15% say they discharged themselves from hospital because they couldn't bear to stay any longer.

Read more: Children's health 'in jeopardy' due to lack of health visitors

Royal College of Midwives (RCM) chief executive Cathy Warwick Chief said: ‘There is no doubt that postnatal services are the Cinderella of maternity services right across the UK. The RCM believes this area of maternity care is one of the most important to invest in and much more investment is needed to help us achieve the best outcomes for both mother and baby.

‘For women the postnatal period can often be a very difficult time and this is when the highest level of care and support is needed most for some women. It can also be an extremely exhausting and worrying time particularly for first time mothers.

Read more: Safer Pregnancy Wales: Healthy, active lifestyle key to avoid stillbirths

‘If we are to invest in better postnatal care for women we must invest in more midwives. England currently remain 3,500 midwives short and our maternity services will continue to struggle in supporting women if the shortage is not addressed. More midwives means women will get the care, time and support they truly deserve.’

The survey has been launched to coincide with a new campaign from Mumsnet to improve postnatal care called Aftercare, not Afterthought.

What do you think? Leave a comment below or tweet your views to @IndyNurseMag

This material is protected by MA Healthcare Ltd copyright.
See Terms and Conditions.



Please view our Terms and Conditions before leaving a comment.

Change the CAPTCHA codeSpeak the CAPTCHA code

Most read articles from Practice Nursing Journal

Practice Nursing Journal latest issue and most read articles.

Click here to read a selection of free to access articles from Practice Nursing Journal


Sign up to the newsletter


Independent Nurse is the professional resource for primary care and community nurses, providing clinical articles for practice nurses and prescribers.


Subscribe to our newsletter and stay up to date with the latest nursing news.

Stay Connected

Stay social with Independent Nurse by following us on Twitter, liking us on Facebook or connecting on LinkedIn.


Need access to some of our older articles? You can view our archive, or alternatively contact us.

Contact Us

MA Healthcare Ltd.
St Jude's Church, Dulwich Road
London, SE24 0PB

Tel: +44 (0)20 7738 5454
Registered in England and Wales No. 01878373

Meet the team


Find out how to contribute to Independent Nurse here.